Leading on from our last episode: “Better” Gear Isn’t Always a Goer! Today I want to discuss a topic that raises its ugly head every few years: Video. If adding more gear causes issues then deciding to turn your audio podcast into a video show, usually because some “influencer” has said the future is video is a whole new level of difficulty and, to be frank, pointlessness, most of the time.
In the age of multimedia content, the allure of adding video to a podcast can be tempting. After all, visuals can be captivating and it might seem like a way to engage a broader audience. However, it’s essential to question whether video truly adds value to a podcast. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pointlessness of video in a podcast context and why sometimes, less is indeed more.
1. Audio as the Primary Medium
Podcasts have thrived as an audio-first medium and for a good reason. Audio allows for a unique form of storytelling and engagement that taps into the imagination of the audience. When listeners tune into a podcast, they’re often doing other tasks, such as commuting, exercising or working. The absence of visuals encourages listeners to focus on the content, creating a deep connection with the material.
Video can disrupt this immersive experience by shifting the audience’s attention from the content to the visuals. Instead of engaging with the narrative or discussion, viewers might find themselves distracted by what’s happening on screen. This dilution of attention can lead to a loss of the podcast’s core value—the content itself.
2. Production Complexities
Introducing video to a podcast brings a host of production complexities. Unlike traditional audio recording, video requires additional equipment, cameras, lighting and editing software. This translates to a more significant investment of time and resources.
I can confirm this as I’m putting together some videos for a podcasting course. The principles of editing are the same but, wow, video just adds layers not required with audio only.
Editing video is more time-consuming and intricate than editing audio. The need to synchronise audio with visuals, add graphics and ensure a visually appealing result can create bottlenecks in the production process. This added complexity can detract from the essence of the podcast—conveying information and engaging the audience through sound.
3. Accessibility and Consumption
One of the beauties of podcasts is their accessibility. Listeners can enjoy podcasts on various devices, from smartphones to smart speakers, making it convenient to consume content on the go. Video, on the other hand, demands more bandwidth and data, limiting accessibility in areas with slower internet connections or data restrictions. Think rural and regional NBN in this wide brown land.
Additionally, the visual aspect of video can be a barrier for individuals with visual impairments who rely on screen readers or other assistive technologies. By keeping podcasts audio-only, you ensure inclusivity and reach a more extensive audience.
4. Focus on Quality Over Appearance
Podcasts succeed when they offer high-quality content and meaningful engagement with the audience. The focus should be on delivering valuable insights, entertainment or storytelling, rather than on the appearance of the hosts or the visual aesthetics.
Incorporating video may inadvertently shift the podcast’s focus from content quality to visual appeal. Hosts might feel pressured to look a certain way or engage in unnecessary on-screen antics to keep viewers entertained, taking away from the authenticity and substance of the podcast.
5. Listener Engagement
One of the unique aspects of podcasts is the intimate connection between hosts and listeners. Listeners often feel like they’re part of a community and this connection is fostered through the spoken word. Video can disrupt this connection by introducing an additional layer of separation—the screen.
Instead of picturing hosts in their minds, listeners now see them on a screen, potentially altering their perception of the hosts’ authenticity. This can hinder the sense of intimacy and engagement that makes podcasts so compelling.
In the world of podcasting, the pointlessness of video becomes apparent when we consider the medium’s strengths—audio storytelling, accessibility and intimate engagement. While video has its place in various content formats, podcasts thrive when they focus on what they do best: delivering meaningful content through the power of the spoken word. So, the next time you consider adding video to your podcast, remember that in this context, less is often more.